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September 2004

By Tonisha Johnson

Woman Thou Art Loosed

Director: Michael Schultz
Screenwriter: Stan Foster, based on the novel by T.D Jakes
Cast: Kimberly Elise, Clifton Powell, Loretta Devine, Debbie Morgan, Michael Boatman, Idalis DeLeon, Sean Blakemore



Best-selling novel Woman, thou art loosed by Bishop T.D.Jakes comes to life on film with the help of filmmaker Michael Schulz. This true to life film is a moving, fearful, emotional ride that will have the audience's attention from the very beginning, to the very tearful and dramatic ending.

Michelle Jordan (Kimberly Elise) wonders why she has so many "uncles" that never come back after they first meet. Her "loose" mother Cassie (Loretta Devine) "often" raises Michelle as she is constantly carted back and forth to grandma's house because mom has a "date" with a new uncle. As most children who are left alone; Michelle occupies her time with plenty of dolls and child-like songs.

Enter Reggie (Clifton Powell), the New Uncle on the Block. Upon introduction Michelle immediately senses fear and says a quick hello before moving away suddenly. As the audience will find out, Cassie feels Reggie is a keeper, but he soon takes a darker, deeper, destructive turn towards the family besides his daily drinking and "loose" habits.

Michael Schulz, although a great filmmaker, did no justice in originality. As the rape scene was typical. Michelle adorned in her frilly white dress laced in satin bow and ruffled socks finds herself alone at home as usual when "Daddy Dearest" comes home drunk. Of course she fears him and tries to retreat to her room safely. Alas, she does not.

This story has been told several times over. So much that we could tell it in our sleep. And although we would all love to see happy films, even happy Black films where children are never abused, people have jobs and the word nigga doesn't exist. Unfortunately the world is "pretty ugly." Blood shed, mass destruction, pain and death fill our short lives. "Pretty ugly" is a combination of both worlds. And sometimes our youngest soldiers get caught in the balance.

It is never pleasant to see children hurt or raped for that matter. It is the unthinkable. The "How could someone do that to a child." Or "Where were the girls parents?" remarks surface. In this case, gullible Cassie continued to voluntarily "pull the wool over her eyes", even though she was already wearing "rose colored glasses" since the beginning of the story.

Poor Michelle grows cold and distant, having had her innocence taken from her by an inhuman male who later, about 20 years, when Cassie decides to remove her voluntary blinds and see Reggie for who he is, wants him to change his ways immediately or go!

Debbie Morgan plays the unselfish, caring, thinkable Aunt Twana who encourages Michelle and builds her spirit. Ms. Morgan always plays the supportive role where she is the conscience of the film; the logical, levelheaded actress that puts it all together even when the main character just doesn't see, in such roles as in Eve's Bayou.

Bishop T.D. Jakes plays himself in the film. Michelle and her dysfunctional yet distant mother and aunt both attend the church whose scenes are set like a televangelist. Her mother skillfully

She recounts her life of while putting together a "house" out of Popsicle sticks and talking to Bishop T.D. Jakes, who has come to help her threw her demons. Reminiscing about old friends Nicole (Idalis Deleon) and Todd (Michael Boatman) who still has an eye for Michelle since they were little; hoping they may have a chance to reconnect.

For anyone that has gone through a traumatic experience, some more than others, may need far more time to deal and move on from the darkness always lurking in their minds. Minds have a way of constantly uncovering things although some memories lye deep and buried.

If you are one of those people, seeking to be loosed; then this film may be your chance.